Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Good dietary analysis program: Cronometer.com

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I just learned about Cronometer.com: it’s free, and it includes an analysis of your micronutrient intake (and goals). Worth entering a day’s food from time to time and see how you’re doing.

The breakdown has color bars that show what percentage of the recommended amount of each micronutrient you’re getting. If you hover the mouse over the color bar, a popup shows the contribution from each of the foods you entered sorted in descending order on amount.

Also, if you highlight (click on) one of the foods you entered, you get the analysis just for that food.

And you can drag and drop the foods you’ve entered to reorder them.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 June 2019 at 8:50 am

Even One Extra Walk a Day May Make a Big Difference

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I’m back to doing Nordic walking, and The Younger Daughter pointed out this NY Times article by Gretchen Reynolds:

How many steps should people take every day for good health?

A new study of activity and mortality in older women finds that the total could be lower than many of us expect and that even small increases in steps can be meaningful. The study also side-eyes the validity, utility and origin of the common 10,000-step-a-day exercise goals built into so many of our phones and activity monitors and suggests, instead, that any moving, whether or not it counts as exercise, may help to extend people’s lives.

By now, almost all of us know that walking and other types of physical activity are indispensable to our well-being. Studies show that active people have lower incidences of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes and usually live longer than people who are sedentary. But many of us remain confused about just how much exercise we need and how intense it should be.

The official exercise guidelines in the United States and many other nations recommend that adults complete at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, such as walking. These guidelines are based, for the most part, on past studies linking the length of time people are active with their subsequent robust or poor health.

But some scientists have begun to suspect that telling people to measure their workouts in minutes may not be ideal.

“People may not intuitively grasp what 150 minutes a week of exercise means in practical terms,” says I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, who led the new study.

Step counts are a simpler, more concrete and convenient measure of physical activity, she says. We can understand the concept of a step and how to add them up. And, helpfully, many of us possess technology in our phones or activity monitors that will count our steps for us.

But few past studies have correlated steps and health, largely because such research requires people to wear activity monitors and not just tell researchers how often they exercise.

So, for the new study, which was published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Lee and her colleagues set out to objectively quantify how many steps might be needed to avoid premature mortality.

Many of us likely assume that the answer is 10,000, since so many of our activity monitors use that threshold as a goal. But no scientific evidence supports that idea, Dr. Lee says. The concept of 10,000 steps seems to have originated, in fact, with a Japanese clock maker in the 1960s, she says. It gave its consumer pedometer a Japanese name that translates as “10,000 steps,” and somehow that ideal took hold. (Some past research suggests that we might need to take more than 10,000 steps to protect ourselves against heart disease.)

Now, aiming instead to use science rather than semantics, Dr. Lee and her colleagues began trolling through the massive data from the Women’s Health Study, which has been tracking the health and habits of older women for decades.

As part of that study, thousands of older women had worn a sophisticated activity monitor for a week. It tracked the steps each woman took per minute throughout the day (but without showing any readout of the totals, so the women would not know or respond to the counts).

The women also provided information to the researchers about their overall health and lifestyles.

The researchers gathered the step-count and health data from almost 17,000 of the participants, most of them in their 70s, and none of whom reported poor health. The scientists also checked death records for the subsequent four to five years and then compared step counts and mortality.

Those comparisons proved to be telling. The women who had moved the least, taking only about 2,700 steps a day, were the most likely to have died during the follow-up period. Women who moved more often had considerably less risk of premature death, up to a plateau of about 7,500 steps a day.

Meanwhile, the sweet spot for reducing the risk of premature death was about 4,500 steps per day, the data showed. A woman who reached that threshold was about 40 percent less likely to have died during the follow-up period than someone taking about 2,700 steps each day.

“We were quite surprised that such a relatively small number of steps would be associated with such a substantial reduction in mortality,” Dr. Lee says.

The data also indicated that few of the women walked intensively; for the most part, they strolled, rather than rushed. Few walked for exercise. But intensity did not matter in this study. Only the number of steps per day was associated with mortality, not the speed with which the women accumulated them. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 June 2019 at 8:37 am

Regarding cardio exercise and brain function

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Also from How Not to Die, by Michael Greger MD:

In a 2010 study published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers took a group of people with mild cognitive impairment—those who are starting to forget things, for example, or regularly repeating themselves—and had them engage in aerobic exercise for forty-five to sixty minutes a day, four days a week, for six months. The control group was instructed to simply stretch for the same time periods.

Memory tests were performed before and after the study. Researchers found that in the control (stretching) group, cognitive function continued to decline. But the exercising group not only didn’t get worse, they got better. The exercisers got more test answers correct after six months, indicating their memory had improved.

Subsequent studies using MRI scans found that aerobic exercise can actually reverse age-related shrinkage in the memory centers of the brain. No such effect was found in the stretching and toning control groups or a nonaerobic strength-training group. Aerobic exercise can help improve cerebral blood flow, improve memory performance, and help preserve brain tissue.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 May 2019 at 2:32 pm

Exercise reduces chronic inflammation

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And why is that important? From an article in Harvard Magazine:

Because the idea that inflammation—constant, low-level, immune-system activation —could be at the root of many noncommunicable diseases is a startling claim, it requires extraordinary proof. Can seemingly unconnected illnesses of the brain, the vasculature, lungs, liver, and joints really share a deep biological link? Evidence has been mounting that these common chronic conditions—including Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression among them—are indeed triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation. But it took that large-scale human clinical trial to dispel any lingering doubt: the immune system’s inflammatory response is killing people by degrees.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

26 April 2019 at 1:19 pm

Daily life: Nordic-walk observations

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Last Saturday I decided to move from my ~6100-step walk to resume my old route of ~7100 steps (after only two days of 6100 steps). I knew I was pushing it, but I was eager to get back to my old route of two big laps and two small laps, with hills. Using PlotARoute.com, here are the hill profiles.

I do two laps of this:

And then two laps of this:

The first (this is one lap; I do two):

 

 

 

 

 

The second (this is one lap; I do two):

 

 

 

 

 

The first day I went this route it took 66.4 minutes (7109 steps, 107.1 steps/minute). I took a day off (Sunday) and then did it again on Monday: 67.1 minutes (7142 steps, 106.4 steps/minute)—a little slower and a shorter stride.

So on Tuesday I picked up the pace and did it in 65.0 minutes (7114 steps, 109.4 steps/minute: longer stride and faster pace). I pushed myself that day, and Wednesday I found I just didn’t have the energy for thewalk: I was too worn out. I started the walk, quit pretty quickly, and took a 1.5-hour nap. (I haven’t been taking naps, so this was unusual: I really as tired.)

I decided that I was pushing myself too hard, so today I just went at a comfortable pace: 67.6 minutes (7159 steps, 105.9 steps/minute): shorter steps and a slower cadence. I felt fine after this walk.

I decided that for the rest of April I will do what I did today: not push myself and just walk at a comfortable pace. I figure that after a month I will have built up enough strength and stamina then to pick up the pace again.

This is doubtless more detail that you expected, but I find it interesting how small differences in stride length and cadence make such a noticeable difference in how tired I get and how I feel.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 April 2019 at 8:26 pm

It’s official: I’ve changed my goal to 8000 steps per day

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The Nordic walk is only a portion of that, of course, but a pretty good portion (about 7100 steps) is the Nordic walk. Additional steps are from around the apartment, shopping, etc. I usually go well above 8000.

And I thought “The Highwaymen” on Netflix was quite good.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2019 at 5:52 pm

Waterlyptus and TOBS No. 74—with Rooney and Ed Jagger

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What a great shave! I haven’t used my Rooney Super Silvertip (each brushmaker has its own terminology regarding badger), Style 3, Size 1 for quite a while, and I do like it. And Catie’s Bubbles Waterlyptus—watermelon + eucalyptus + peppermint—is a wonderful morning fragrance—and the lather’s damn good, too.

My favorite Edwin Jagger did its usual sterling job, and a splash of TOBS No. 74 aftershave finished the shave with a classic fragrance and good feel.

I’m ready for the day. Those who follow my walking adventures will be pleased to know that I’ve blown past my 6000-steps-per-day goal and the last three days have gone over 8000 steps/day (with a good cadence: 108 steps/minute). Nordic walking poles make an enormous difference: once I’m out the door and start walking, they keep me moving and make the walk enjoyable.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 March 2019 at 7:43 am

Posted in Nordic walking, Shaving

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